Humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip are deteriorating dramatically due to the ongoing Israeli military escalation against Gaza since Friday, August 5, 2022, targeting civilians and civilian objects, particularly infrastructure facilities, including water and electricity distribution networks.
The 6-day complete closure of Erez and Karem Abu Salem, the border crossings to the Gaza Strip, further aggravated the already fragile conditions in the Gaza Strip. The fuel entry ban is ongoing and the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) announced on Saturday, August 6, 2022 that the only power plant in Gaza would run out of fuel and shut down completely at 12 noon the same day.
According to GEDCO, Gaza’s electricity needs are 600 megawatts. Gaza’s power plant supplies the Gaza Strip with 60 megawatts, and another 120 megawatts come from Israel. As a result, there is a power deficit of 480 megawatts, which is about 80 percent of Gaza’s total needs. With the power plant shutdown, the total energy supply to the Gaza Strip will drop to less than 120 megawatts, taking into account repeated power line cuts and damage to grids due to Israeli attacks.
As a result, given the ongoing Israeli military attacks on Gaza’s residential areas, damage to power distribution networks at homes, healthcare facilities and public facilities, and the ongoing ban on importing fuel, hours of electricity supply will drop to less than four hours of supply followed by a 16-hour cut. This situation points to a further deterioration in humanitarian conditions and threatens to block and disrupt essential services in the Gaza Strip, particularly water, sanitation and medical supplies. In this context, residents of the Gaza Strip suffer significant suffering due to the high summer temperatures and their inability to leave their homes amid constant military attacks.
The power outages pose a serious threat to the work of vital hospital units, especially the emergency room, intensive care unit, surgery, as well as dialysis departments, laboratories, incubators and the medical gas system. They will also disrupt the operation of desalination and sewage treatment plants, as well as household water supplies, causing a major health and humanitarian catastrophe.
The electricity crisis is also affecting the work of local authorities as water distribution to households is disrupted and it becomes difficult to deliver water at the time of electricity supply, depriving people of the ability to fill water tanks, especially in multi-storey buildings . Due to a lack of alternative energy, some municipalities are also unable to operate sewage treatment plants and discharge untreated sewage into the sea, which leads to marine pollution along the approximately 40 km long Palestinian coast.
Al Mezan strongly condemns the recent Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip and is deeply concerned by the Israeli authorities’ enforcement of the complete closure of the Gaza border crossings, including the fuel ban. All of these actions carried out by Israel are part of its collective punishment of more than two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and in blatant violation of international humanitarian law.
Al Mezan calls on the international community, the United Nations and their organizations to take immediate action to ensure access to food and fuel in Gaza to avert the looming humanitarian catastrophe. Al Mezan reiterates his call on the international community to pressure Israel to end its ongoing abuses of the Palestinians in Gaza, lift the lockdown and blockade, and protect Palestinian civilians and their property by respecting international humanitarian law and human rights .